Two hands met each other for the umpteenth time, holding on like the branches of an ancient oak holding onto this seasons leaves. This was the third time in as many days that the younger lady had visited the sickly woman who she found herself now enamored by. She couldn’t quite explain it, this lady was simply a name on a clipboard to her. this frail husk laying before her was nothing more than a number in the system, at least that’s what she had told herself. The young lady knew her line of work, at times, forced her to be the one in the room that didn’t have an emotional interest or attachment. It was something she was all to familiar with, being able to avoid attachment. Years of heartbreak and shattered trust made sure of that, gargantuan walls built around a heart that sat bloody and bruised. Ready for a break. This made her excellent at her job, a sheer refusal to let people in or allow people to get the best of her. She was able to deal with those at the bottom of the societal ladder, she was the safety net. The type of people who manipulate, deceive, lie, and cheat to go from fix to fix. She was able to play these people like the finest composers of our time and make them follow her as if she were the pied piper himself. The elderly woman that sat before her was not like these people.

The elderly woman liked to be called Andy, it was androgynous and in another life that had made her feel strong. Now she just knew it as four letters people would use in her direction on an hourly basis. She was never sure what it meant but it felt familiar to her. It was one of the few things that wouldn’t terrify her these days. Everything around her felt so foreign, she knew nothing but fleeting moments of discovery and then darkness again. It was a cycle she had no idea she was caught in. Words and faces no longer made sense, she’d seemingly seen hundreds of people and been engaged hundreds of times in a few days span. She would have no idea that the same handful of people were just making their rounds. They were to her a very similar figure as she was to them, just part of a routine. As they meant nothing to her, she meant nothing to them. A cruel similarity in two vastly different worlds. The shining light of the past few weeks would be this young lady, although Andy didn’t know it and lost all memory of the event after its occurrence. Every time the young lady visited she felt a warmth she wasn’t sure if she ever knew, but she did know that this young lady brought her back something she had without a doubt known in another life.

The young girl then sat above Andy hands still intertwined, a warmth penetrated the otherwise drab nature of the setting. The young woman knew these kinds of care homes, care was a word used wishfully here. There was no care here, there was simply a sustained existence for all who were unlucky enough to be here. The young woman knew this but had still found herself drawn here, not to the home but to Andy. Finding any time she could to be here with this woman. The two sat in silence, words wouldn’t matter or even be remembered. Radiance poured from the young woman, she was the epitome of beauty. She was everything Andy had once been, so full of life but still so guarded from it. It was something Andy felt connected to, although her mind had failed her this bond had not. This young woman, a credit to life, to love, to women everywhere. Although the memory of this young lady would slip away every time she would never not feel that connection to her.

Andy lay frail and dying, her skin clung to her bones as if it were holding on for its very existence. Her mouth sat ajar and her breathing was labored. She simply was an empty body, this was no more apparent than when you got a glimpse into her eyes. They had once been full of fire and life but now felt like shallow pools devoid of life. The young woman was there for her in this moment, the final moment. She had also felt that togetherness when around Andy, she could feel it as there hands still sat holding one another. This was one of the few times she’d felt this with a client, a genuine despair knowing what was only minutes away. Tears started to slowly trickle down her smooth skin, Andy thought it seemed like such a shame for something so beautiful to feel sadness. Andy knew why, she could feel her grasp on life failing that much she could recall. The young lady simply sat and waited, the walls she built removed if only for a moment allowing her to feel completely the weight of this. Death was not something she was unfamiliar with but this felt far worse, as if a small part of herself was disappearing. The name and number on the clipboard meant something now.

Finally Andys breathing became less labored and moments after that it stopped completely. She was gone, the shell she had become was finally at peace. She left behind nothing but a memory, an imprint on another life. The young woman turned away towards the only window in the room. She couldn’t look past the tree that sat in the courtyard, a large breeze rustled its branches and grabbed its leaves holding them in its grasp until it deemed it necessary to let go.